In April of this year, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office announced a Tourist Oriented Policing Squad (TOPS) consisting of 10 deputies specifically trained to handle safety issues related to tourism. The announcement came one week prior to the release of 2009 crime statistics for the state of Florida, which showed a 7% drop in crime.
The statistics were generated for the 2009 Annual Uniform Crime Report, which includes offenses reported by 409 of 415 local, county and state law-enforcement agencies throughout the state. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement released the information, claiming 60,000 fewer crimes than in 2008 and a 39-year low after years of record-breaking violence.
The Orlando Sentinel reported that the drop in crime is good news for Central Florida’s tourism industry, and quoted the president of the Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association, who stated: “It will support our worldwide reputation as being a safe destination.” But tourists and residents alike should not let their guards down just yet. While the numbers are encouraging, they also show more than 32,800 violent crimes committed in the state of Florida in 2009.
Travelers should be aware that when crimes occur in hotels or motels, premises liability can come into play in incidents involving assaults due to negligent security or insufficient lighting, dangerous products, pool and spa tragedies, transportation negligence (plane, car, bus, or taxi crashes), boating accidents, and many others. Key areas of potential hotel/motel liability include:
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